Greater Tulsa Reporter
SINGLE GROWTH: Bixby is growing in its residential offerings as well as its demographic range. Encore on Memorial opened in Bixby in 2011. Its current occupation rate is 98 percent with half of its occupants made up of single individuals.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
While it’s no revelation that Bixby is growing leaps and bounds, recent and future planned construction attests to the truth that the city’s demographics are widening.
Bixby is often thought of as a family place, and that’s no surprise with its reputable school system and various family-friendly events and attractions, including the Bentley Park Sports Complex. Additionally, the city’s average family size in 2010 was 3.12, right on par with the national average and slightly higher than the state average. In the greater Tulsa area, only Owasso, Jenks, Catoosa and Glenpool had higher average family sizes.
Yet, single professionals and young couples are also finding their place in the burgeoning area. One proof of this is Bixby’s growth in apartment, or multifamily, developments.
Bixby’s first apartment complex, Parkwood Apartments, 600 S. Main Ct., was built in 1973. It took more than 20 years before The Links on Memorial, located south of 111th Street South, came in 1996. Construction on Marquis on Memorial, on 146th Street South, began in 2009 and Encore on Memorial, on 121st Street South, in 2011. It appears that the new developments have met a demand.
Encore on Memorial offers 248 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units and is home to both families and young people, says Encore Manager Heather Shipman. It currently enjoys a 98-percent occupation rate with about half of that made up of single individuals and an average age of 28-35 years old.
“Seeing the success of the two newest multifamily developments, others have expressed interest in developing in Bixby,” says City Planner Erik Enyart.
However, many young ones opt for home ownership, due to the city’s wide range of housing options and price ranges. The city currently has two new neighborhoods now available—Southridge at Lantern Hill, located at 146th Street South and Sheridan Road, and Seven Lakes II, at 126th Street South and Sheridan Road—plus plans for up to seven more additions, including Bixby Landing Second, Seven Lakes III and The Trails at Whitehawk.
Bixby’s easy accessibility to surrounding cities and its high amount of growth—presently ranked the 19th largest city in the state—combined with an ever-present small-town feel are among the reasons many young ones have put down roots in the area.
City officials have plenty of hopes for further commercial and business growth, including the possibility for two shopping centers at 121st Street South and Memorial Drive.
Ninety-two acres southwest of the intersection were recently rezoned for a multiple-use commercial, office and residential development, to be called the Scenic Village Park. Plans for the Bixby Centennial Plaza shopping center are in place for the intersection’s northwest corner.
“All signs point to this area becoming the next big shopping district in the south Tulsa County area,” Enyart says.
Mayor Ray Bowen, who hails from Bixby, considers the city “the community of choice in Northeast Oklahoma,” he says. He points to the 57-percent population increase since 2000 as evidence that residents agree; as for the reasons for the growth, he partly attributes it to the city’s low crime rate, holding the title as the safest city in the state for communities of similar size.
Bowen foresees Bixby’s future to include a second South Tulsa County bridge, additional medical services, riverfront development, and more retail, entertainment and dining opportunities.